10
Mar
19

Power and Leadership: A Complex Systems Science Approach Part I—Representation and Dynamics

Complexity Digest

Historical social narratives are dominated by the actions of powerful individuals as well as competitions for power including warfare, revolutions, and political change. Advancing our understanding of the origins, types and competitive strength of different kinds of power may yield a scaffolding for understanding historical processes and mechanisms for winning or avoiding conflicts. Michael Mann introduced a framework distinguishing four types of power: political, military, economic, and ideological. We show this framework can be justified based upon motivations of individuals to transfer decision making authority to leaders: Desire to be a member of a collective, avoiding harm due to threat, gaining benefit due to payment, acquiring a value system. Constructing models of societies based upon these types of power enables us to distinguish between social systems and describe their dynamics. Dynamical processes include (a) competition between power systems, (b) competition between powerful individuals within a power system of a society…

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